Incredible and Amazing Facts

About Hummingbirds

incredible & amazing facts about hummingbirds


hummingbird species

There are more than 325 hummingbird species, with about 8 that regularly breed in the United States.






perched hummingbird

The majority of hummingbirds are located in tropical climates and they do not regularly migrate.

They can be found in Central and South America, as well as throughout the Caribbean.






Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, they only use their feet to scoot sideways when they are perched.

They have evolved smaller feet so they are lighter when flying.

However, they use their feet for scratching and preening.




They have a bright color on their throat that is caused by iridescence in the arrangement of their feathers.

The light level, moisture, angle of viewing, wear and tear and other factors all influence how bright and colorful their throats may appear.





Hummingbirds have 1,000 to 1,500 feathers, which is the fewest number of feathers of any other bird species in the world.

Their low number of feathers makes them more lightweight, enabling them to fly faster and further.





calliope hummingbird

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird species in North America, measuring just about 3 inches in length.







bee hummingbird

The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest hummingbird species in the world.

It is only 2.25 inches long and can only be found in Cuba.






ruby-throated hummingbird

The average Ruby-throated hummingbird weighs about 3 grams.

Compared to a nickel that weighs 4.5 grams, which means that a nickel weighs more than this species of hummingbird.






pectoral muscles

About 25% to 30% of a hummingbird’s weight is in its pectoral muscles.

These are the broad chest muscles that are mostly responsible for the flight.






flight speed

They have a maximum flight speed is about 30 miles per hour, however, they can reach about 60 miles per hour in a dive.

They have many adaptations for a unique flight.






hummingbird eggs

They have the smallest eggs out of all birds.

Their eggs are about half an inch long but they represent about 10% of the mother’s weight at the time they’re laid.

It is smaller than a jelly bean.





hummingbird feeding

Hummingbirds must consume about half of their weight in sugar daily.

They feed about 5 to 8 times per hour and their diet consists of nectar, insects, spiders, and tree sap or juice from broken fruits.


wing beats of hummingbirds

Their wings beat about 50 to 200 times per second.

However, the amount of beats varies on the direction of the flight, the purpose of their flight and the surrounding air conditions.






hummingbird at rest

On average, a hummingbird heart beats 1,200 times per minute.

In comparison, a human heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute at rest.






hummingbird resting

Hummingbirds will take 250 breaths per minute when resting and their breathing pace will increase during flight.







ruby-throated hummingbird flying

The Ruby-throated hummingbird flies 500 miles without stopping across the Gulf of Mexico during its spring and fall migrations.







rufous hummingbird migration

The Rufous hummingbirds have the longest migration out of any other hummingbird species.

They are known to fly more than 3,000 miles for their nesting grounds in Alaska and Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico.






average lifespan of hummingbirds

The average lifespan of a hummingbird is between 3 to 12 years, depending on the species, habitat conditions, predators, including threats to hummingbirds.







keen eyesight of hummingbirds

They have no sense of smell but have a keen eyesight, which they rely a lot in finding their food.







hummingbird's tongue

They do not suck nectar through their long bills, they lick it with their fringed, forked tongues.

The capillary action along the fringe of their tongue helps draw the nectar up into their throats so that they can swallow.






hummingbird licks

Hummingbirds are known to lick between 10 to 15 times per second while feeding.







hummingbird feeding

They digest natural sucrose, which is the sugar found in floral nectar, in 20 minutes with 97% efficiency for converting sugar into energy.








Most hummingbird species can cross-breed with each other to create hybrid species. This is what makes identifying them very difficult and challenging.







aggressive hummingbirds

They are extremely aggressive, despite their small size.

They’re known for regularly attacking jays, crows, and hawks that are close to their territory.




sword-billed hummingbird

The bill of the Sword-billed hummingbird, found in the Andes Mountains, can reach up to 4 inches long.

It can be so heavy for the bird that they will perch holding their bills straight up.

They hold the record for the longest bill relative to the overall body size of any bird in the world.




hummingbird predator

Small hummingbirds have been reported to have been caught in spider webs, eaten by praying mantis, frogs and dragonflies, and even stuck on thistles.








95% of all hummingbird species live to the south of the United States.






No hummingbirds can be found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia or Antarctica.  

They are native species of the New World and are not found outside the Western Hemisphere except in a few zoos or aviaries.













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